Teens arrested for school arson attacks

By Ingrid Oellermann Time of article published Aug 22, 1999

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Two matric pupils at Greytown High School in the Midlands have been arrested and charged in connection with three incidents of arson at the school since last month.

Investigations undertaken by police have indicated that the motive for the incidents of arson - one of which resulted in an estimated R700 000 damage to the school - was a desire to "play war games".

The pupils are believed to be linked to school gang activity. More arrests are possible.

They appeared in court last week, but were not asked to plead. The case was postponed until August 30 for further investigation.

One of the pupils, aged 17, was released into the custody of his parents while the other, identified as Willie Oosthuizen, 18, was granted bail of R100.

One of the bail conditions is that he undergo a period of mental observation.

The first arson attack occurred at the school on the night of July 12 when a prefabricated storeroom housing school books and stationery was set alight.

The fire destroyed the building and spread to the adjacent woodwork room before it could be extinguished by firefighters.

The damage has been estimated at R700 000.

Following this, another fire was started in the school grounds when a cloth soaked in petrol and pine needles was set alight. No damage resulted.

In a third incident, the thatched roof of a "lapa" near the school swimming pool was burned, with the damage estimated at R10 000.

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